The 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang are in the books. Norway led the way in the medal count, bringing home 38 in total. Germany, including a surprising silver by their men’s hockey team, was next, and the U.S. was fourth with 23 medals.
From start to finish, there were shocking moments, controversies, messages of hope and peace, and some of the greatest athletic feats in the history of mankind.
Here’s a look at the 15 best moments from the 2018 Games:
15. North Korea and South Korea unite during opening ceremonies
Much was made over the North Koreans and South Koreans finding enough common ground so that both could compete in the 2018 Winter Olympic Games. And while some of it may have been political posturing, at least for one brief moment, the two sides found peace and marched proudly under one flag during the opening ceremonies. It was in stark contrast to the 1988 Games held in Seoul, where the North Koreans not only refused to compete, but carried out a terrorist attack on a South Korean jetliner 10 months prior to the opening ceremonies. And considering North Korea could be seen from the mountain slopes in the Gangwon Province, it was particularly symbolic — a memorable and hopeful way to open the games.
Adam Rippon will likely have plenty of endorsement opportunities after he became one of the breakout stars of the 2018 Winter Olympics, but a partnership with McDonald’s seems unlikely.
Rippon, who won a bronze medal in figure skating in PyeongChang, said on Saturday that he hit the free McDonald’s at the Olympics a bit too hard. The 28-year-old joked that he is going to beg his trainer for help.
After having free McDonalds in the village for the majority of the time since I’ve finished my events, I’m thinking the most professional way of notifying my trainer that “LOL I MESSED UP I NEED LIKE A NEW BODY SRY HELP PLZ”
— Adam Rippon (@Adaripp) February 25, 2018
As we learned with his hilarious live interview early on in the Winter Games, Rippon has a great sense of humor. McDonald’s is one of the official sponsors of the Olympics, but that doesn’t mean eating Big Macs for two weeks has any less impact on the greatest athletes in the world. Rippon appears to have learned that the hard way.
The Norwegian curling team of Kristin Skaslien and Magnus Nedregotten flew back to the Olympics in PyeongChang in order to receive their bronze medals in mixed doubles.
Skaslien and Nedregotten originally lost to the Russian team of Alexander Krushelnitsky and Anastasia Bryzgalov, but things changed after Krushelnitsky tested positive for banned substance meldonium. The Russian husband and wife team ended up giving back their bronze medals, which then went to the Norwegian team.
Nedregotten had said during the week that he wanted to have a medal ceremony after being “robbed” of the moment by the cheating Russian team. The IOC made it up to them, flying him and Skaslien in from Norway first class. They received their medals at a ceremony on Saturday night.
Kristin Skaslien and Magnus Nedregotten finally got their own medal ceremony to receive their bronze medals from the mixed curling after the russian team got disqualified for doping. They had returned to Norway but traveled back for the ceremony. Nice gesture from IOC! #Olympics pic.twitter.com/P03XtURbXL
— Andre Noruega (@AndreOstgaard) February 24, 2018
It all worked out well in the end.
Not even a gold medal at the Olympics could help the US curling team score an upgrade with the rigid folks at Delta Airlines.
Team USA curling won its first ever gold medal at the Winter Olympics when John Shuster’s team defeated Sweden 10-7 on Saturday in South Korea. Feeling pretty good about their gold medal status and newfound fame, the person running the USA Curling Twitter account decided to shoot their shot with Delta.
The USA Curling account told Delta that they were flying home from the Olympics on Monday and asked for an upgrade.
— USA Curling (@usacurl) February 24, 2018
Delta congratulated them via Twitter, said they were honored to be their ride back home, but shot down the upgrade request.
Hi, there. Congratulations, gold medal champions! We are honored to be your ride back home! While we don't have any upgrades to offer, we look forward to seeing you on board. Thanks for flying with us! *AJL
— Delta (@Delta) February 24, 2018
There shall be no special treatment for anyone! Not even gold medalists!
Perhaps the curling team should have booked their flights through United Airlines, which is the official U.S. sponsor of the Olympics. They might have been more likely to provide the hookup. But as this fellow showed us, it’s never a bad idea to shoot your shot, regardless of how long the odds may seem.
- 2018 Winter Olympics
Tom Kelly is proving to be a man of his word at the PyeongChang Games.
Kelly, who is vice president of communications for the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Team, fulfilled a 12-year promise to skier Kikkan Randall. After Randall won gold in cross-country this week during the women’s team sprint freestyle event, Kelly dyed his hair pink, per Steve Reed of the Associated Press.
Tom Kelly, the vice president of communications for the @usskiteam, made good on a 12-year-old promise to Kikkan Randall to dye his hair pink if she ever won an @Olympics medal. Randall took gold in cross-country at the @pyeongchang2018 Games.
(AP Photo/Matthias Schrader) pic.twitter.com/bw1a1EYmDn
— Steve Reed (@SteveReedAP) February 24, 2018
The 35-year-old Randall took home the gold along with teammate Jessie Diggins in their event on Thursday. It was the first-ever gold medal for the United States in cross-country. Considering how dramatic their victory was as well, Kelly was probably more than happy to make good on his pilary promise.
The Winter Olympics may have a controversy on their hands.
During the men’s giant slalom semifinals, Slovenian Zan Kosir and South Korean Lee Sang-Ho were pitted against each other for the right to advance. The race was extremely close, with Lee winning the race by .01.
Replays of the finish, however, showed that Kosir certainly looked to have gotten his arm across the finish line before Lee did.
— (@KeithBalanis) February 24, 2018
— NBC Olympics (@NBCOlympics) February 24, 2018
Admittedly, the angle of the camera isn’t directly in line with the finish. However, there were indications that something was off. According to Kevin Kaduk of Yahoo Sports, Kosir raised his arms in celebration upon crossing the line, and he protested when he saw the replay of the finish. It certainly looks like he had plenty of reason to complain.
There have been some wild finishes at these Olympics, but this is just bizarre. Lee went on to lose in the final while Kosir wound up with the bronze, but that might not be much consolation.
- 2018 Winter Olympics
Many athletes come to the Olympic Games with very high expectations, both for themselves and from their country. Many of them are world champions in their chosen sport and have been building up for four years just for this moment. One can only imagine, then, the disappointment and heartbreak if things don’t go as planned, be it their own fault or something outside of their control.
Here are 10 big disappointments from the 2018 Winter Olympics.
1) Olympic hockey being determined by shootouts
There is a practical reason why Olympic hockey games — both men’s and women’s — have been settled by so many shootouts. The nature of the tournament — and the small window of time in which the games must be played — makes it impractical to play limitless overtime periods to settle tie games. Still, there’s something somewhat unsatisfying about seeing high-pressure games come down to what is ultimately a skills competition, which is how the American women won their gold medal and how the American men were knocked out of the tournament. It’s hard to suggest an alternative, but it’s just another reason why the Olympic tournaments are vastly inferior to, say, the Stanley Cup Playoffs in terms of quality. At the least, perhaps medal games should not be determined by shootouts.
2) U.S. female figure skaters